Design Trends to Avoid in 2018

Graphic design trends to avoid in 2018.

In 2018, many trends in design have emerged that have started to become design standards and common themes as the year progresses. Many of these trends add a new flare to the design world that positively effects the state of graphic design and branding, but some of these trends are bad for business. There are old trends that are outdated but still going strong, as well as terrible design solutions that are used too often. These trends cause a lot of repetition and allows bland design to flood the industry.

1. Chaotic Type Variety

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of bad design trends is the combination of too many typestyles. This trend has quickly become an epidemic in the past couple of years and is only getting worse. This mix-and-match approach CAN be done well, but most of the time designers try to use too many fonts at the time. 

Ad that displays chaotic type variety with multiple font types. Bad design trend number 1

Therefore, this creates a chaotic mess of letterforms.

In the example to the right, on top of using too many colors that do not mix well together, this ad uses a massive list of fonts.

2. Conquering All the White Space

In the world of graphic design, white space is the amount of space in your design that is not filled with text or images. It is always a good choice to use white space to your advantage. Arranging your elements in a way that allows white space to breathe is a great strategy. White space can also lead the eye through your design. Despite this, there are many designs out there recently that contain barely any white space, giving the designs an unorganized and cluttered look that is illegible.

Example of advertisement that does not use white space. Cluttler image with font that is hard to read. Bad design trend number 2.

Here is an example of a design with no white space at all, the background image is too busy, takes up the entire space, and causes the text to be difficult to read.

Example of proper use of white space. Good design trend.

Here we have a good use of White Space from Behance. Notice how the spread is cohesive and the white space leads the eye across the pages around the image.

3. Use of Random Dots

I see this next trend far too often in logo design. In order to try to create an interesting design, designers use random elements such as dots thrown together. These dots will usually have varied size and multiple colors. This is a lazy and uninspired attempt to be creative and it has become way too common to ignore. Spending an hour sketching every idea that comes to mind would be better than wasting time using this trend.

Logo that uses random multicolored dots that serve no purpose. Bad design trend number 3.

Here is a logo featuring the random colored dots. This technique would have been more successful if they integrated the style into the text or created an actual symbol relative to the company.

This logo provides a great example of unique ways of using shapes.


Example of random dots to make a logo that is cohesive and relative to the client. Moon made of out random colored dots. Good use of random dots.

4. Helvetica

This one is simple: Helvetica is one of the most overused fonts in the world. Essentially, popular brands all over the world have used it for at least a decade, including Jeep, Microsoft, Target, etc. The problem with this is that it is so widespread that people think it’s a great idea to use it because it’s easily recognizable, but in reality, it is just very repetitive. Though big brands are using it, it does not mean you should use Helvetica in 2018. There are so many modern fonts out there right now to take advantage of.

Well known companies that use Helvetica for example Jeep, Skype, Target, Microsoft, etc. Bad design trend number 4.

5. Monoline

Monoline is exactly what it sounds like: one-line design. This trend took off when minimalism dominated the design world and still has a presence in 2018. This method is very versatile and was once a great trend to use to make simple but great designs, but has turned up too frequently for the past few years and has exhausted its use.

6 examples of monoline design. Bad design trend number 5.

Above are examples from Liquified Creative’s post about Monoline. You can see that this is a really interesting style, but the amount of Monoline designs out there have stopped it from being unique any longer.

6. Using “Swooshes” as Logo Elements

8 logo designs that use swishy people. Bad design trend number 6.

If you’ve seen logos for health organizations, or for any industry for that matter, you’ve probably seen this trend.  The only use of the swoosh I find acceptable is Nike’s logo. If I had a quarter for every time I saw a swoosh person or a swoosh used above text, I’d be rich. This is a failed design trend that I see way too often, which is not good for the state of modern design.

If you are wondering what a “swoosh person” is, above & to the right are some good examples. There are unlimited logos that look just like these.

7. Old Typefaces

The last trend to avoid is the use of old and outdated typefaces such as Papyrus and Algerian. In 2018, there are many recent and up to date fonts to choose from, to the point where using such old fonts are inexcusable.

Here are 3 outdated fonts named by Creative Market:

3 overused fonts. Arial, Hobo, & Papyrus. Bad design trend number 7.

In conclusion, before trends are followed and applied, graphic designers should study them. This should be done to be aware of what works and what fails. Every trend has specific uses they are meant for, as well as risks. This must be kept in mind before executing a design. The vision of what needs to be accomplished should be the main concern of the graphic designer. This means that trends need to be chosen carefully in terms of the solution to the client’s problem.  Interested in graphic design or logo design? Head over to our Branding page to find out more.

Brandon Sellers Blue Water Marketing Stuart, Florida

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